Phil Vanderhider, 100% Cajun, is the owner of In a Truck, LLC. & is the reason for our delicious food at Cajun In A Truck. Phil had an amazing opportunity to give this interview to Lee Knaz in Los Angeles! This interview gives incredible insight into what motivates Phil & shows how he is Cajun through and through.
Childhood memory about food/cooking: Growing up on a farm, as young as 5 or 6 years old, I recall during planting & harvest season the men would cook over wood fire & propane stoves lunch for the workers; usually pork or beef or chicken in a brown gravy, always served with a heaping portion of rice (we are rice growers).
Favorite restaurant in your city and/or in the world:
Breakfast - Waffle House
Casual - Beef O'Bradys
Dinner - Long Horn Steak House
Cultural Chain - Pappadeaux's Seafood Restaurant
Favorite thing to cook at home or favorite thing to order in?
1 (3-5 pound) catfish
1 cup oil
1 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped fish pieces
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 quarts fish stock
juice of one lemon
3 bay leaves
pinch of thyme
pinch of dill
1 cup chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
METHOD: Fillet the catfish and cut into two inch square cubes. Place the bones and head in a pot with one gallon of water, one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Bring to a rolling boil and cook 30 minutes, skimming the impurities that rise to the surface. Strain and reserve 3 quarts for the court bouillon.
In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and using a wire whip stir constantly until dark brown roux is achieved. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes.
Add fish, tomatoes, tomato sauce and continue to sauté until fish is cooked into the roux mixture.
Add fish stock, one ladle at a time, until all is incorporated.
Add lemon juice, bay leaves, thyme and dill. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer.
Allow to cook approximately 30 minutes.
Add green onions and season to taste using salt and pepper.
Drop cubed catfish fillets into the sauce, allow to cook 3 minutes then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
Serve over steamed white rice.
Favorite thing to eat on a Saturday morning... 1st-Boudin! 2nd- Fiesta Omelet with grits & bacon.
What is your favorite food related scene from a movie or TV show? Lucille Ball - attempting new recipes for dinner.
What is the one food item you cannot live without? Rice (medium grain white). I must have it in at least 1 meal a day - breakfast, lunch or supper!
What Else? Growing up I learned Cajun Culture is centered around Faith, food, family & friends. Cajuns believe in breaking bread at any & every gathering from birth of a child, receiving sacraments, wedding, holidays, achievements, and, yes, funerals. So if you were invited to come over and visit, you were expected to stay for a meal... The sharing of a meal has proven to soften the setting and conducive to productive meetings; to the extent that talks of the next meal would begin shortly after a meal was concluded, give it a try!
Phil Vanderhider is a native of south Louisiana – Mamou! Brought up on Cajun Customs & Rich Savory Cooking Traditions in a rural farming community. Along with his team, he recently launched Cajun, In a Truck, a Louisiana inspired Food Truck in Hernando County, FL, serving Lunch & dinner at various locations. The menu includes Jambalaya, Crawfish & Corn Bisque, Red Beans & Rice, Shrimp, Catfish & Chicken Po’ Boys; Specialty items are Boudin Balls & Ettouffee Pockets; for the lighter side, garden salad, add grilled shrimp or chicken; kids meals mac n’ cheese, grilled cheese. Coffee & Cajun Beignets for dessert!
The Team is equipped & experienced in onsite catering, 30 to 300 meals per setting with everything from table scape, linens, silverware & chaffing setups for business meetings & trainings, open house, company or family picnics, company holidays & celebration parties, political events, wedding rehearsal dinners, school sports events, homecoming, fundraisers, private or public gatherings. They are booking Catering events and would like the opportunity to work with you.
Cajun, In A Truck 1-855-855-9211
Visit our friend Lee Knaz's web site: http://www.mediterraneandietguy.com/friends